Category Archives: Opinion

Jack Chick – Apr 13, 1924 – Oct 23, 2016

I heard that Jack Chick died the other day. You may not know the name, but you’re probably familiar with his work. At some point you’ve probably been given or come across a Chick Tract; a little black and white comic about why you’re going to Hell unless you confess that Jesus is your savior. I suppose at it’s most basic level, he wasn’t wrong, just ignorant.

Unlike most people who disagree with his message, I don’t see him as a hateful old fossil but instead someone who is really out of touch with reality; sometimes hilariously so. The message of the gospel he would try to deliver was almost always in the most offensive way possible and I don’t mean offensive in the way that the gospel is offensive. I mean offensive in the way that the issues are discussed without actually understanding the issues or the people in the issues themselves. To the reader, this comes across as hate-filled, racist, or just downright laughable. More often than not, it came across as all three.

Conspiracy theories abound in tracts on Roman Catholicism. Satan gives AIDs to Christian rock bands as a punishment for going gay. Dungeons and Dragons teaches you to kill your family. Blacksploitation. No, I’m not making that last one up. Somewhere along the line Jack Chick thought black people might have difficulty relating to his predominately white comics so he made black versions of many of his tracts complete with jive talk. And yes, I’m reasonably sure these tracts came out well after the ’70s.

The strange thing is, there’s a certain level of honesty to them I can’t explain. Not in how they portray the people and issues, but in Jack’s worldview. This is why I don’t see him as a complete douche (I could be totally wrong here, I don’t know the guy) but instead as someone who genuinely thinks he’s helping people. And that’s kinda tragic because in his misguided attempt at helping people, he’s probably done much more harm than good. I imagine that for every person these brought to Jesus, twenty more were driven away.

Sadly, these tracts can still be found everywhere. Well meaning people find clever ways to hand these out. Invariably, my daughter will get at least one trick or treating this year. Those of us who are older will remember finding them in phone booths. I once found one in a case of beer I had purchased at the grocery store. Most recently, I got one in the mail with my health care check from a Baptist church. I speculate that since my health sharing ministry will allow just about any Christian to join, they may have been worried that they might be sending money to a Roman Catholic, because for what other reason would a Christian send a Chick Tract to another Christian.

I believe Jack is in heaven. Not because his theology was right, but because I believe, as misguided as it was, that his faith in Christ was genuine. I believe that his faith was strong and even though misapplied, it still comes down to faith in the one who came down and died for our sins and that his word is true. Could I be wrong? Sure. I didn’t know Jack Chick personally. I can only speculate based on what I’ve read. But I don’t think he was intentionally malicious. Just paranoid and out of touch with reality.

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Daily Edification

A while ago I picked up the Treasury of Daily Prayer. At the time, I had difficulty understanding exactly how I was supposed to use it and eventually, put it aside, practically forgetting about it. In recent months and ever perhaps year or so, I’ve been slowly but surely attempting to simplify my life. It’s been a process, especially after having constantly added more and more into it over the years. However, I’ve been grudgingly re-evaluating my priorities and attempting to get rid of things I do not need or use. A delightful side effect of this is that things that once held great appeal to me hold it less so. When my time is free, I am now less likely to go after the forms of entertainment that I used to (although I still have my programs that I watch and games I like to play).

So when those free moments come, I find myself reaching for those items I have neglected. Namely the Book of Concord and the Treasury of Daily Prayer. Though I don’t get to them every day, I find myself far more engaged in the scriptures and understanding of my theology. Since I have been in the process of simplifying my life, I find I am much better able to focus and understand them, not being distracted my nonsense that may or may not even be there. To put it simply, I am finding it much more edifying that I have in the past. By this I mean I am seeing things that I would’ve simply read but not registered. I am coming to better understanding. As this becomes more habitual, I suspect that I shall better be able to focus on the scriptures directly, though I make no guarantees about Numbers. ūüėČ

I must say, this idea of simplifying my life came from minimalism. Though I am not advocating minimalism (believe me, I am no minimalist), it has a lot of great points. Once I started cutting the crap, I found I could better focus on the things that matter. Things like reading the scriptures and doctrines became a delight instead of a chore. Somehow roughly half an hour seemed to open up for me in the morning even though I still get up at the same time and follow the same routine. I suspect I was on my phone more than I would like to believe. Now when I see that I have time, I will take a bit of time before work to sit down with the Treasury of Daily Prayer or the Book of Concord if I have more.

I generally try to stay away from things that aren’t directly related to theology on here, but in this case I think I’ll make an exception. Cut some of the unnecessary crap from your life. Throw things away. T-Shirts, movies, etc. As stuff goes away, I suspect you’ll find things a bit more peaceful and it will become easier to get some daily edification. We all need it, and most of us don’t get nearly what we should.

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Only Pastors and Doctors

We live in a unique time when it comes to death. Up until the last one or two hundred years or so, it was quite common for people to live in multigenerational homes. Great grandparents, grandparents, parents, and children all living together underneath one roof. Now, it is more common that each generation lives separately in their own dwelling. Instead of the old dying with their loved ones, they often die in a nursing home or hospital bed. The children are often spared the grief of seeing death face to face and as such are totally unprepared to deal with it when it comes time for someone very close to them to go or even when it’s their own time. In a world so sanitized of pain and suffering, those who are qualified to deal with it are minute few.

Though there are exceptions, in today’s society, few people are with those in their final moments more than Pastors and doctors. It used to be that people would witness death throughout their life from being very young up until their final moments. They would watch great grandparents, grandparents, parents and sometimes more pass before their eyes when the time came. If they worked on a farm, death was a regular occurrence with the butchering of animals for food. A certain respect and understanding was developed throughout life. It seems today that more often than not, children are kept at bay when a grandparent dies with only the direct children of the grandparent there (if a family member is there at the time of death at all). Even when it comes to those with pets, how often does the child deal with it directly? How often does a parent shield their child as much as possible to ease the burden?

Throughout my life, I have intentionally exposed myself to death. Some horrors such as beheadings, car accidents, and other atrocities; others simply just a persons final moments as they naturally pass from this life to the next. Yet I’ve never seen anyone die in person. Not even an animal. Though I probably have more intimate knowledge on the subject than most of my friends, I cannot say that I am prepared for it when the time comes. I like to think that I know how I’ll be when a loved one finally dies or when I’m in my final moments, but like most people today, my experiences with death are totally dethatched. Even with loved ones and friends, I wasn’t their with them in their final moments.

Pastors and Doctors, however, they see it all. They are there at those final moments. They can develop that appreciation and understanding that most of us don’t get because they are around it, they are in it. I think today, Pastors are more important than ever because in our sterilized world, they are perhaps more often than not the only ones who can truly prepare us for the end.

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I am a real person

When I was younger, before I was a Christian, there was no problem a good bottle couldn’t fix. It almost always made me feel better. And if it didn’t, I’d eventually pass out and feel better about everything in the morning. I recall one particularly rough night when I drank an entire bottle of whiskey on my own. The next day, I felt great. Since becoming Christian, I don’t drink even remotely like I used to and I don’t need it to solve my problems.

So, when you’ve discovered the greatest thing in the world, how do you help someone who in reality probably understands far better than you ever will? What about when that great thing is of no¬†help to them? I honestly don’t know what your supposed to say, if anything. I suppose the only thing to say is that scripture never promises to fix our problems. The fact that I no longer drink a thirty pack of beer a day could be the result of God’s hand or it could be sheer dumb luck, an¬†outcome of the choices I’ve made. In some respect, a lot of our life comes down to the choices we make.

In a previous post, I pointed out how things that can be used for sin¬† are not necessarily sinful in and of themselves. Not to say that one who goes through gender reassignment isn’t sinning, but for a hypothetical moment, let’s just say it’s not a sin. How one uses that gender reassignment could make much a sin. I’m not going to go into the ways a gender swap can be used for sin. I’ll let your imagination figure that out. And I’d like to point out for the record that I am NOT saying that Greg would use a gender swap for evil (such as beating up women), I’m just making a point of something that should be considered as it brings a whole new level of required awareness to the table.

I honestly don’t know where I’m going with this right now. I just felt I had to say something and now that I’ve said it, I honestly don’t know where to take it. But here is what Greg has to say…

Eilers Pizza

I am a real person. I cry real tears. I feel real pain. I experience real joy. I express and receive real love.

For all of the joy I experienced after changing my picture and profile yesterday, I experienced an equal measure of hurt. I received new friends; I lost old friends. I received very serious private messages of concern, and messages in which my intentions, by publicly writing, were called a veiled plan to cover the transition of which I was already certain.

I never wanted this time to come. I fought so hard to remain a male. For as peaceful as I feel about my brain and body finally coming into harmony, and the joy I experience living as a female, the good parts never last for long because the next hard thing appears, issues with family and friends and church and on and on.

I constantly return…

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The final post as Greg

I repost this only in that I feel that this is an important topic. I cannot say that I agree or support the direct Greg is heading. I suspect that he will probably be disappointed that I cannot in good conscience recognize him as Gina or refer to him as her. These are things I cannot view as interchangeable nor can I view such changing such words to be right. That said, I still consider Greg a friend and hope that he will remain as such, despite my disagreement. Please read, though I urge you to make your comments directly to his blog and not my repost. I feel such discussion would be better served at the source rather than the relay.

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Why I am a Christian and more

This is a must read for any Christian. I must say that Greg is a far better man than I and that I can only hope to practice my faith at least half as well as he does. The beauty of this post is that it’s not law. It’s just good habits that he practices. I see a lot of areas where I can greatly improve on (namely all of them) and changes I should be making, not because I have to, but because it is good.

Eilers Pizza

Why I am a Christian

This is my essay about why I am a Christian.

I am a Christian because I am going to die and only one person, God-in-the-flesh Jesus Christ, has beaten death with His death and resurrection, which means He is the only One who is able to offer the cure for death, which is His gift of my own resurrection to eternal life.

That was my essay about why I am a Christian.

Of course, there is more to the Christian faith, and you might even argue that I am a Christian because I was born into a Christian family. Every other thing aside‚ÄĒhow I was reared, what else the Lord does for me‚ÄĒis in the shadow of this shining light: Jesus Christ gives life which transcends this life, the resurrection to a life when there will be no more death or mourning or crying or‚Ķ

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The Most Important Meal of the Day

I have found that when I eat heartier meals, I have a tendency to have a much better day. For the longest time, my breakfast consisted of two eggs and some bacon or sausage. Excellent foods, but at only 300 – 400 calories, it’s not exactly hearty. However, I have found when I add in say a bagel with cream cheese or a bowl of grits, my day is much better. And it’s no secret why. When my breakfast is 600 – 800 calories, I’ve got the fuel to get me through the day. I work better. I’m happier. I’m more motivated. I have more energy. I kick myself on those mornings where I don’t have a big breakfast. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I believe it rightfully true. Likewise, it’s important to start your day out with good theology.

I used to begin every single morning listening to a good theological podcast. I had a great selection that I would listen to. Issues Etc., The God Whisperers, Fighting for the Faith, The White Horse Inn, or a sermon that I had missed because I couldn’t make it to church that Sunday. But a few weeks ago, an update to my podcast software actually broke the program. Rather than immediately start looking for a new one (it’s awful trying to find just the perfect podcast software), I decided to wait until they fixed it. And I waited. And waited. And waited. And yet, still no fix. I have found because I haven’t been getting my morning theology fix, I really slumped in it overall. I’ll admit it, I haven’t been reading the scriptures nearly as much. I haven’t been keeping up on books I’ve been reading. Even my prayer has taken a hit (something I wasn’t that good at to begin with).

As I look back and compare it to my breakfast, it’s really the same thing a way. When I got in some good theology early in the morning, I got in good theology the rest of the day. I would read in the evening. I would get in prayer more often instead of off the cuff when I think about it. I would intentionally study more. I was even happier. But the times that I don’t get my morning dosage, I forget about it later. I don’t have the motivation. I don’t care as much. I’m not as happy. In fact, I start to slip into my old pre-Christian self. I need to get back into getting in good theology first thing in the morning. If that means suffering through a terrible podcast app until they fix my normal one, than so be it. But this lack of morning theology is killing me spiritually. I’m glad that I suddenly recognize it, but I’m disappointed that it took me so long.

Thankfully, tomorrow morning calls for some grits and a long drive. I should be able to get my fix.

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A right way to pray?

Sometimes I ponder if I am praying in a right way. I open my mouth and start to speak and for one reason or another, I am simply at a lose for words. In those cases, I often just repeat things I’ve said many times in the past. It doesn’t always sound sincere, but when I’m at a loss, I just kinda go with whatever comes out. But just because they’ve been repeated doesn’t make them any less important. If the words are honest and truthful, does the tone of sincerity really matter? I would presume not because these prayers are not for the adoration of others but for the sake of prayer. And with some prayers, they are repeated because we are commanded to (IE, the Lord’s Prayer) or because they instill in us good Christian thought. What I mean by that last part is that they edify us in the way of Christ and scripture.

None of this to say that spontaneous prayer is bad. I will at times just start praying with no Apostles Creed or Lord’s prayer. My mouth just opens and I speak my prayers and needs to God. Nothing fancy. No formalities. Just simply praying what needs to be prayed. My speech in these instances are generally not carefully thought out and in some cases, not always proper, but they are honest and good prayers heard by God in the highest.

I hear people talk about one form of prayer being better than the other. Those who dislike formal prayer because it doesn’t feel as though it is from the heart and those who dislike spontaneous prayer because it lakes the structure and edification that the formal prayer contains. I feel that neither is wrong and both have their place. When one just simply needs to pray and pray right then, then perhaps in these cases spontaneous prayer may be for the best. Sometimes one just needs to get prayer out right away without distraction. On the other hand, in instances where one has the opportunity to be more thoughtful or needs to be put in a better frame of mind, then the formal prayer is much preferred. It clears ones head and speaks biblical truths to the person praying. This allows the person speaking the prayer to be more thoughtful and mindful with his words and perhaps even pray with greater reverence than he would otherwise.

In so many words, I do not feel that there is a wrong way to pray. Some ways that may perhaps be better than others, but what is most important is that you pray. Pray with a Christian mind and your prayer will be a good one. Don’t worry about getting it right or wrong. A Christian prayer is always the right prayer.

EDIT: I had link to this post on Tsu.co and a fellow poster over there provided some scripture that had slipped my mind which I felt was very relevant to this post, so I would like to add his comment to this. Acts One Eight Ministry says this:

Romans 8:26 says “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” The Spirit prays for us. He prays with us. That doesn’t cover this whole article, but it does address the section about our inclination to repeat words without heart.

I felt his comment was very good and wanted to include it in the post for supporting scriptural reference. Thank you.

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Discrimination VS Participation

I’ve been seeing this in the news quite a bit in the news over the past few days. “Pizza shop won’t serve gays.” “Flower shop won’t serve homosexuals.” If the headlines were to be believed, you’d think discriminating against homosexuals was all the rage these days. But the fact of the matter is, many of these headlines are deceptive. Some of the articles themselves go so far as to omit certain details, perhaps in some sort of attempt to villainize the business. For the most part, though, these businesses are portrayed as discriminating against homosexuals even though in most cases (you will find the oddball here and there) nothing of the sort is happening.

Take Memories Pizza in Indiana who was forced to closed out of fear for their well being after they stated that they would not cater gay weddings. They were labeled as bigoted, hateful, and discriminatory, even though they stated that they would have no issues serving homosexual customers. Wait. Didn’t I just say they won’t do gay weddings? Yes I did. So how does that work with them not having any issues serving homosexual customers? The two statements may seem contradictory but actually, they’re not contradictory at all. And here’s why.

If Memories Pizza stated they will not serve gays, period, that would be discrimination. But that’s not what they’re saying at all. If a homosexual wants to come in and have pizza, they have no problem whatsoever with that. To them, that person is simply a customer and they treat that customer like every other customer. There is no distinction between the Christian, the Muslim, or the homosexual. They are all the same. They are all customers. Where this changes is when the homosexual (or Muslim, or whatever) asks them to take part in their event. Once you ask someone to cater your wedding, you are no longer just a customer. You are asking them to take part in your wedding. A wedding they may disagree with. If they agree to cater your wedding, they are affirming what your wedding symbolizes. So for Memories Pizza, to cater a gay wedding would be to violate their morals and beliefs. They would effectively telling the world that they believe homosexual weddings are okay.

I’ve used the gay wedding and Memories Pizza as one example, but pizza and weddings aren’t the only thing it applies to. It can apply to any scenario that forces people to choose to obey their faith or violate it. To be clear, participating in an event is not a simple business transaction as the media is making it out to be. Participating in an event is a clear affirmation of what that event is about. It’s not about bigotry. It’s not about hatred. It’s not about discriminating against customers. It’s about not violating your conscience. Scripture calls for us to serve our neighbor, but we do him no service by participating in his sin.

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Delicate ears

The ears of our generation have been made so delicate by the senseless multitude of flatterers that, as soon as we perceive that anything of ours is not approved of, we cry out that we are being bitterly assailed; and when we can repel the truth by no other pretense, we escape by attributing bitterness, impatience, intemperance, to our adversaries.

It seems to me that not much has changed since the 16th century when Martin Luther wrote these words. The only difference between then and now is we have new words with which to ascribe. Today that which makes our ears delicate we give such happy words like self-esteem and tolerance. And that which hurts our delicate sensibilities we give names such as bigotry and hate-speech. We like to think that such things are new and perhaps to many of us, they are. I for one can recall growing up in the ’80s and early ’90s that when your feelings were hurt or your sensibilities where offended, you accepted it like an adult and moved on. Then came the wave of political correctness that has gotten so large, that upsetting someone in some cases is considered a punishable crime.

In the opinion of those delicate-eared persons, nothing could be more bitter or intemperate than Paul’s language.

Martin Luther nailed it on the head with this. And so did scripture. Those with delicate ears would make the Christian out to be the devil himself. A deceiver full of hate and loathing. But it is not just the rest of the world with delicate ears; it is Christians too! For some Christians when you speak of doctrine or Gospel, their ears curl and their hearts lurch because what you say is antithetical to how they view a particular part of Christianity. They deem you full of hate and not of Jesus’ love. Yet to those whose ears are not fragile, they would see, even if they disagree with you, that you come not in hatred but in love! In charity! And they would accept your words as good and kind, even if they themselves disagree with what you have to say.

If there is a light in all of this it is that delicate ears can be broken. When a glass is broken, it must be replaced with a stronger one so that it is not broken again. So when a delicate ear is broken, say by the law, then it must be replaced with an ear that is strengthened by the Gospel. And that is because faith comes through hearing, whether we want to hear it or not.

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